AL-GHAIB: Aesthetics of the Disappearance

Curated by Gaia Serena Simionati

June 30 - August 30, 2011

AL-GHAIB: The Aesthetics of Disappearance, is an international show curated by Gaia Serena Simionati. It was first organized in Sharjah, the third-largest of the United Arab Emirates, and will now appear at Stux Gallery in New York from June 30-August 30, 2011 in an updated version. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to experience contemporary Islamic art, and give a new perspective to a Western audience.

Al-ghaib is an Arabic word meaning ‘the unseen’ or ‘the unknown’, and functions significantly in Islamic practice as a recognition of the inability of mankind to see God and the forces that shape the world. The exhibition AL- GHAIB focuses on work in which the artist surrenders his/her artistic ego, dissolving traditional notions of individual aesthetics in favor of opening up to the intellectual and visual value of the Divine: here the epiphany of God is the primary form of art.

The exhibition includes 12 artists from 7 countries, both emerging and established, namely Iraq, Iran, Macedonia, Italy, Azerbaijan, England, and the United States, working in a range of media including performance, video, sculpture, installation, photography, and drawing.

From the point of view presented in the exhibition, one could say that Western society is breaking down. The general lack of spirituality, the loss of secure identity, fundamental doubts about the possibility of truth or knowledge itself, compounded by an overly easy, shallow sexuality and a lack of respect between human beings (and toward the Planet Earth itself) create a situation in which we have sacrificed love, empathy, and awareness. The artists in the exhibition each reflect on this crisis, responding by evaporating classical conceptπs of aesthetics and the privileged artistic ‘self’. Let’s see then! La takhtafi!